“Faith and charity each require the other in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path. Indeed, many Christians dedicate their lives with love to those who are lonely, marginalized or excluded, as to those who are the first with a claim on our attention and the most important for us to support, because it is in them that the reflection of Christ’s own face is seen. . . It is faith that enables us to recognize Christ and it is his love that impels us to assist him whenever he becomes our neighbor along the journey.”–Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 14)
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
Read: Luke 7: 36-50
7: 36 One of the Pharisees: (In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus dines with the Pharisees three times.) In order for the woman to stand behind Jesus and still be at His feet, He was probably reclining on His left side as was the custom of the time.
7: 37 a sinner: The host, Simon, and the dinner guests knew the woman’s reputation. Jesus’ reputation has already been confirmed: He befriends even sinners to extend them mercy. The lavish use of the ointment is an expression of the woman’s courage and contrition.
7: 47 for she loved much: As illustrated by the parable (7: 41-43), the woman’s love was the effect of her forgiveness NOT the cause.
7: 49 even forgives sins: Jesus claims to do what the Jews believed only God can do for sinners.
The Four Things Jesus Did During This Encounter
- Jesus contrasts her acts of kindness with the lack of these signs of hospitality from His respectable host.
- Then, He explains the parable. “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7: 47)
- He turns to the woman and shocks the guests by saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7: 48)
- Finally, He ignores the outrage and tells the woman to go in peace because her faith has saved her.
Meditation: Read Romans 8: 31-39. What is the only real threat to our Salvation?